AmaZulu FC 1-1 Orlando Pirates: Usuthu fight back against Bucs in thrilling encounter

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Augustine Mulenga fired the Buccaneers into the lead in the first half, but Emiliano Tade leveled matters after the restart

Orlando Pirates drew 1-1 with AmaZulu FC in a PSL match which was played at the King Zwelithini Stadium on Saturday night.

Usuthu were keen to snap their four-match winless run in the league having drawn 0-0 with KwaZulu-Natal rivals Maritzburg United at home in their previous game in midweek.

Cavin Johnson made one change to the starting line-up that faced the Team of Choice as Jabulani Ncobeni replaced fellow attacking midfielder Siyethemba Sithebe.

Bucs were looking to extend their five-match unbeaten run in the league having drawn 0-0 with Golden Arrows at home in their previous league game.

Johnson's counterpart, Milutin 'Micho' Sredojevic made four changes to the team that faced Abafana Bes'thende with Jackson Mabokgwane making his first appearance of the season.

Mabokgwane replaced fellow goalkeeper Siyabonga Mpontshane, who had picked up an injury just before the start of the game.

The match got off to a lively start, and it was the Buccaneers who broke the deadlock 16 minutes into the game following a good move by Micho's side.

Thembinkosi Lorch controlled the ball brilliantly before playing through Augustine Mulenga, who fired past AmaZulu goalkeeper Siyabonga Mbatha to make it 1-0 to Pirates.

The goal did not come as a surprise as Bucs had scored 9.1% of their goals in the first 15 minutes of the game in the league this season.

Usuthu, who have been praised for playing enterprising football under Johnson, tried to respond with a goal, but the Bucs defence made sure that their keeper, Mabokgwane, was well-protected.

Emiliano Tade had a chance to shoot at goal following a good move by the hosts, but Pirates defender Ntsikelelo Nyauza put his body on the line as he blocked the goal-bound shot.

At this stage, the momentum was with the visitors as the half-time break approached, and the home side came close to doubling their lead through Xola Mlambo and Justin Shonga.

Mlambo's powerful shot was pushed away by Mbatha, who was alert, before Zambian marksman Shonga curled his effort narrowly wide.

Pirates were leading 1-0 at the interval following a lively first half in Durban.   

An enthralling second-half followed as Usuthu piled the pressure on the Bucs defence and they managed to level matters following some great work by Ncobeni. 

The skillful player dribbled his way into the Pirates box, before setting up Tade, who fired past Mabokgwane to make it 1-1, much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was end-to-end stuff as Mulenga was presented with a glorious opportunity to fire Bucs ahead after being sent through on goal with the hosts' defence badly exposed. 

However, Mbatha proved why he was preferred ahead of the experienced Moeneeb Josephs as he pulled off a great save to deny the Zambia international.

Shonga was guilty of missing easy goalscoring opportunities on the night as he hit the upright, before firing wide of the target from close range.

Both teams lauched late attacks in search of a late winning goal, but it never came and ultimately, AmaZulu, and Pirates drew 1-1 following an exciting match.

The draw left AmaZulu rooted at the bottom of the standings, while Pirates also remained second on the log.

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Meanwhile, Highlands Parks secured a 2-1 win over Chippa United in a PSL match which was played at the Princess Magogo Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.

Mothobi Mvala and Lindokuhle Mbatha scored for the Lions of the North, while Tebogo Tlolane scored a consolation goal for the Chilli Boys late in the game

The win took Highlands Park to seventh on the standings, while the Chilli Boys remained 10th on the table. 

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